Weed science Society of America Logo


Multiple MS and PhD assistantships available in precision pesticide application and spray drone evaluation with Auburn University in Auburn AL (main campus)

Type of position GRA
Employer Auburn University
Description of Employer Auburn University is one of the nation’s premier public land-grant institutions. For 23 consecutive years, Auburn has been ranked among the best of both public and private universities. In 2020, it was ranked 40th among public universities by U.S. News and World Report. As R1 institution, Auburn maintains high levels of research activity and high standards for teaching excellence, offering Bachelor’s, Master’s, Educational Specialist, and Doctoral degrees in agriculture and engineering, the professions, and the arts and sciences. Its 2020 enrollment of 30,737 students includes 24,505 undergraduates and 6,232 graduate and professional students. Organized into thirteen academic colleges and schools, Auburn’s 1,426 faculty members offer more than 200 educational programs. The University is nationally recognized for its commitment to academic excellence, positive work environment, student engagement, and beautiful campus. Auburn University is located in the city of Auburn in east-central Alabama approximately 100 miles southwest of Atlanta, GA and southeast of Birmingham, AL and is about 60 miles from the state capitol (Montgomery). Please visit www.auburn.edu for more information. Auburn University is an equal opportunity employer.
Location Auburn AL (main campus)
Salary $25000-32000
Benefits Full tuition waiver, field work meal reimbursement, student health insurance available for purchase
Closing date of competition Until suitable candidates are found
Date position available Spring semester, 2024
Description of duties

Job responsibilities:

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to design and conduct research studies in the following areas: 1) optimize spray and flight parameters for spray drones; 2) evaluate spray drones efficacy evaluations in field, 3) improve workflows to perform drone-based precision targeted applications and crop assessment, 4) spray drift and off-target movement study, 5) general research and testing in fully autonomous ground sprayers or farming vehicles. The successful candidate is expected to conduct multiple field experiments to collect data with latest models of spray drone, rotary and fixed wing drones, high resolution RGB, multispectral and hyperspectral sensors, Lidars, autonomous vehicle, etc., perform data analysis, prepare project reports independently to funding agencies and collaborators, present research results in field days, extension meetings, regional, national, and international conferences, and generate research manuscripts for peer-reviewed publications. In addition, the incumbent will share the responsibility to supervise undergraduate student workers, manage equipment and provide technical assistance to other small plot studies.  

Qualifications sought

Qualifications sought:

  1. Obtained B.S or M.S. degree in Crop Science, Agronomy, Crop Protection, Plant Science, Horticulture or a related discipline.  
  2. Strong communication skills (both written and oral). Team player with exceptional work ethics
  3. Be able to obtain Alabama driver license and capable of driving long distance (500 miles a day)
  4. Be able to lift and carry at least 40 lb weight during field work.
  5. Long working hours in the field and high physical demand during summer should be expected.
  6. Prior working experiences with weed, insect and disease control, pesticide application, GIS, drone, remote sensing and farming equipment are desirable.
Contact for additional information Contact for additional information:

Dr. Steve Li ([email protected])

Extension Specialist, Associate Professor.

Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. Auburn University

Application procedure  
Submit what Application documents: (Please submit electronically to [email protected])
1. CV or resume
2. Statement of interest (up to 2 pages)
3. Academic transcripts
4. Contact information of three references
5. Official TOEFL score (for foreign applicants)
Submit to [email protected]
Additional Information Auburn University is an equal opportunity employer.